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Read all about it!

To look at the life and work of St Mark.

by Ronni Lamont

Suitable for Key Stage 2

Aims

To look at the life and work of St Mark.

Preparation and materials

  • You need to rehearse children to act the paper-selling sketch. You will need another child to read the Bible verse.

Assembly

  1. Begin with the paper-selling sketch:

    (The children come on and adopt their positions. Every time the paper-seller comes out with a new headline, one group of children form a tableau to represent the headline, while the other children freeze in an ‘I don’t believe it’ type reaction. These need to get stronger as we go through the headlines, to outright disbelief at ‘Man comes back from the dead!’)

    Paper-seller: Read all about it! Read all about it! (waves newspaper around)

    Strange teaching from a carpenter!

    Pigs jump into the sea!

    Dangerous man claims to be healed!

    Carpenter stops a storm on the lake!

    Man regains the power of speech!

    Blind man claims he can see!

    Man seen naked in garden!

    Carpenter crucified!

    Man comes back from the dead!

    (Children hold the final freeze, then sit down.)
  2. Have you read all about it? All those stories can be found in just one part of the Bible, in what we call the New Testament. That’s the second half of the Bible, and deals with the stories about Jesus, and what happened after Easter. The New Testament has 27 smaller books, and all of today’s ‘read all about its’ come from just one of those books – the book that we call the Gospel of Mark.
  3. Mark’s Gospel is the shortest of the four Gospels – the books that tell us the stories about Jesus – and it’s also believed to be the first one that was written. It’s written with a very good pace, so it never lingers for long on one story or scene.

    And in Mark’s story of how Jesus was betrayed, we read a very strange little bit.

    Reader:  ‘A certain young man was following him, wearing nothing but a linen cloth. They caught hold of him, but he left the linen cloth and ran off naked.’

    What a strange little story. Jesus is being arrested, and this man was so frightened he left his clothes in the soldiers’ hands to escape, naked.

    People who study the Bible believe that this young man was Mark himself, who later wrote down his memories of his life following Jesus.
  4. We know from other stories in the Bible that Mark was a friend of St Paul, and travelled quite a lot around the Mediterranean with him.

    But, more importantly, Mark was the person who wrote the first book about Jesus, probably writing down what Jesus’ great friend Peter could remember, adding little bits like that short story that were part of Mark’s own personal memories.
  5. Two thousand years later, we are still reading that book! Imagine you writing stories that you thought were important, and then finding out that 2,000 years in the future, those stories would be the basis of what the Christian Church believes about Jesus!
  6. Mark was not a special man. But he knew what he believed about Jesus, and wrote down those stories to share with other people. Today, along with millions of other people, we still read them.

Time for reflection

The children take up their final pose again, from ‘Man comes back from the dead!’ As the paper-seller repeats the cry, so they change their position to one of celebration.

Read all about it!

It’s easy to ignore the headlines of the day.

Read all about it!

Not so easy when people have been spreading the same story for 2,000 years.

Read all about it!

What will I contribute to the future?

Read all about it!

Did Mark have any idea of how much he was contributing?

Read all about it!

May what I do today,

and in every ‘today’

help make the world a better place in the future.

Amen.

Song/music

‘Go tell it on the mountain’ (Come and Praise, 24)

Publication date: April 2009   (Vol.11 No.4)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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